DEAR ABBY: My problem is, I have lost the art of listening. When someone takes too long to get to the point, or includes irrelevant details, I completely lose patience. I work in a medical office with the same small group of women every day, and I like my job. However, I find myself trying to keep "extra busy" to avoid the boring, mundane chatter about things I don't care about.
Am I becoming an anti-social snob, or is there a way to participate in a conversation while resisting the temptation to roll my eyes and hurry someone along with my hands? I am not particularly chatty, and I don't divulge many details of my personal life -- so is it wrong to no longer care about the details of everyone else's? -- VERBALLY OVERLOADED
DEAR VERBALLY OVERLOADED: We usually get what we give in life. If you would like to receive empathy from those around you (should the need arise), then my advice is to be prepared to show some. Because you don't have time to listen to long stories, it's acceptable in an office setting to say that you are busy and have a limited amount of time to chat. In other words, if you're "verbally overloaded" -- verbalize.